Updates on Fowler and Trouba – October 14, 2016
Get the latest on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler and Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Appearing on TSN 1040, Bob McKenzie reports things are all quiet in the Anaheim Ducks contract negotiations with restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. He speculates the new contract signed by Buffalo Sabres rearguard Rasmus Ristolainen (six-year, $5.4 million annually) could be the floor for what LIndholm might want to take. Given the Ducks salary-cap constraints, they’ll have to shed a contract to re-sign Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell.
McKenzie speculates Cam Fowler ($4 million annually through 2017-18) could be the one to move, likely to an Eastern Conference team. He knows the Buffalo Sabres were interested in Fowler before the 2016 NHL Draft and believes the Boston Bruins would be among the teams with interest in the young blueliner. Regarding Rakell, McKenzie speculates he could get a six-year deal for under $4 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s got to give with the Ducks. With $7.5 million in salary-cap space, it’s doubtful they can afford to re-sign Lindhom and Rakell without shedding some salary.
For months, pundits named Fowler as the most likely trade candidate. The Sabres and Bruins could certainly use him. So could the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. However, the Wings lack the cap space to take on Fowler’s salary.
The Devils, on the other hand, have plenty of cap room to absorb his $4 million cap hit. The Ducks can’t afford to take back much salary in return, so a package of one or two promising, affordable young players might do the trick.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek believes Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba won’t be going anywhere unless the club gets an offer it can’t refuse. Trouba, a restricted free agent, recently requested a trade and is withholding his services. As each day passes in this season, Wiecek feels Trouba’s losing whatever limited negotiating power he had, especially if the Jets keep playing winning hockey without him. He also believes the blueliner’s position gets weaker as the December 1 deadline for signing restricted free agents draws near, adding a lost season will hurt Trouba more than the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiecek raises some good points, but the pressure is also upon GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. If he agrees to trade Trouba, even if he gets a terrific return, it’ll perpetuate the belief that players who are unhappy with their role can “push around” Jets management by demanding to be dealt.
If Cheveldayoff doesn’t move Trouba before Dec. 1 and he becomes ineligible to play the remainder of the season, the Jets GM will be criticized for not using the defenseman as a trade chip to address other roster needs. Those judgments will be harsher if the Jets appear in danger of falling out of playoff contention.
Even if Trouba caves and re-signs with the Jets, Cheveldayoff could have an unhappy player on his hands whose attitude might be poisonous in the dressing room.